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Researchers in Poland have been testing a new trichoscopy-based tool they believe may help to predict the outcome and potential success of treatment for Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is an unpredictable autoimmune disorder which has a number of phenotypes. Each causes differing amounts of sudden hair loss to varying areas of the head and body.

In this instance, a device used in predicting the likely outcome from Alopecia Areata treatment for the mildest form, which causes patchy hair loss to the scalp only, was explored by researchers from the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of Warsaw.

Trichoscopy-based approach

Trichoscope trichoscopy

According to a June 2019 article published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, the Polish team recognised the lack of ‘evidence-based data’ for predicting Alopecia Areata patients’ potential response to treatment.

They then investigated whether taking a trichoscopy-based approach could help them determine possible treatment outcomes in a small-scale trial of 65 participants.

A trichoscope is essentially a small, handheld magnifying camera that allows hair loss specialists to see the scalp at a much larger scale and in high definition. This can give them a better chance of diagnosing and estimating the likelihood of treatment response success for certain hair loss conditions, including Alopecia Areata.

Some of the key aspects specialists advised they looked for in participants’ scalps two months into the trial included black dots, question mark hairs and broken hairs.

Spotting positive and negative signs

Based on their findings from this small group, the Warsaw researchers reported that using a trichoscope could help specialists to determine the likelihood of patients experiencing positive or negative hair regrowth results from Alopecia Areata treatment by looking out for certain signs.

They noted that ‘upright regrowing hairs and pigtail hairs are positive, while black dots, broken hairs, exclamation mark hairs, and tapered hairs are negative predictive markers’.

One critical piece of information is missing from the article, however: the type of treatment these patients used.

There are a number of therapies open to most Alopecia Areata patients whose hairloss is contained to the scalp only. These range from immunotherapy and steroid injections, to topical, at-home applications of high strength minoxidil.

The type of treatment being used will surely have a significant bearing on the results so, whilst using a trichoscope to help monitor a patient’s hair growth progress is not a new idea, ensuring the most effective hair loss solution is used for the individual’s specific needs is likely the most important aspect.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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HairlossANSWERS - Click to Submit Your Query to Our Hair Loss Experts

Name: Gene

Question: Why is my hair loss in patches one at the back of my head just above the nape and left a bit, and another just above my ear? The one at the back’s golf-ball sized and the other one’s more like 50p sized. My dad is bald, is this how it starts? I’m only 18!

Answer: Hi, Gene. We would need to see you to make a confirmed diagnosis, but what you describe here sounds very much like hair loss from the mildest form of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

Normal Hair Growth Cycle versus Hair Growth in Alopecia Areata

This occurs when the hair growth cycle is disrupted and becomes stalled. Reasons for this include sudden shock or trauma, allergies and a genetic aspect is also suspected in some cases.

The patches the hair fall causes can be singular or in multiples, and can be small – around the size of a £1 coin – to far larger, and may even join up, causing larger bald areas across the scalp.

In instances where the patchy hair loss comes on suddenly and only affects areas of the scalp, it will generally clear up of its own accord, with usual hair regrowth resuming within 12 months. To help accelerate this process, or where the bald spots are more stubborn, Alopecia Areata treatment is possible.

At Belgravia this involves the use of topical applications of high strength minoxidil directly to the affected areas. As Alopecia Areata bald patches on the scalp are temporary, treatment does not need to be on-going once normal hair growth has resumed.

Although, as before, a genetic element is suspected, unless your dad is bald due to one of the more extensive types of Alopecia Areata which can cause total baldness of the head, or from head-to-toe, it is unlikely your father’s hair loss is related to your own.

If your dad went bald after years of thinning hair and/or a receding hairline, it is likely he has the hereditary condition Male Pattern Baldness, which is unrelated to Alopecia Areata in any of its forms. It also happens gradually and only affects the area of the scalp from hairline to crown, plus it does not cause rounded bald spots – the hallmark of Alopecia.

That is not to say you will not develop Male Pattern Hair Loss in the future – this is entirely possible if the relevant genes are in your blood line – but what you are currently experiencing does not appear to be this.

We recommend having a consultation with a professional hair loss specialist who can confirm this diagnosis and explain your options for treatment, should you decide to explore this.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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A clinical trial has been announced which will try treating hair loss from all forms of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata with stem cell educator therapy alongside oral minoxidil.

It is due to be carried out by researchers from America’s prestigious Yale University plus Hackensack Meridian Health, and will also be sponsored by Tianhe Stem Cell Biotechnologies Inc.

Aims to decrease relapse rate

At present, oral minoxidil – despite being the pre-cursor to the topical solution – is not authorised for addressing any hairloss condition so this, in addition to the novel stem cell approach, is something of a new approach to Alopecia Areata treatment.

High strength minoxidil is currently MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for the treatment of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss only in its topical form, but its use in promoting hair growth for other conditions when administered this way, including Alopecia Areata of the scalp, has been widely acknowledged for many years.

This is actually the approach taken by Belgravia and has been seen to produce numerous Success Stories when used as part of a dedicated course tailored to the needs of each individual client.

Topical minoxidil’s potential for treating hairloss was discovered when patients being treated for conditions such as high blood pressure with oral minoxidil started to experience unusual levels of hair growth as a side effect. It was then developed into its current, dose-dependent topical version.

What this new clinical trial will explore is using oral minoxidil for all types of Alopecia Areata – from Alopecia Areata of the scalp only (which causes sudden bald spots and patchy hair loss), to Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, which cause complete baldness of the head and from head-to-toe, respectively. These latter forms are currently the hardest to treat, with the only viable therapies being hospital-based intralesional steroid injections or immunotherapy.

It will also combine the use of oral minoxidil with something called Stem Cell Educator Therapy, which the trial registration information explains is hoping to not only treat all forms of autoimmune alopecia, but also to decrease the number of post-treatment relapses, as has been seen in some JAK inhibitor alopecia treatment trials.

As the authors state, ‘Recently, Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors were effective for the treatment of severe AA. However, for those patients who do respond, relapses are common after discontinuation of treatment, due to the existing of autoimmune memory T cells. Stem Cell Educator (SCE) therapy, which uses only autologous mononuclear cells that are externally exposed to cord blood stem cells, has previously been proven safe and effective in subjects for the improvement of type 1 diabetes (T1D), T2D and other autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata. Minoxidil is the FDA approved drug for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in 1988. This trial will explore the therapeutic potential of Stem Cell Educator therapy for the treatment of AA in combined with oral minoxidil.’

Small numbers for Phase 2 stage

The trial registration information states that this Phase 2 study will comprise a total of 20 participants. All will be a minimum of 18 years of age, with a confirmed diagnosis of Alopecia Areata, Totalis or Universalis.

Test subjects will take oral minoxidil for 30 days prior to starting Stem Cell Educator therapy, and their hair growth results will be measured over the course of 12 months.

The estimated completion date for this single group trial, where no placebo group is being used as a control, is 30th April 2021 and updates will be published here on the Belgravia Hair Loss Blog as they become available.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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Platelet-rich plasma therapy, better known as PRP, has become a highly sought after treatment for hair loss in both men and women.

It involves taking blood from a patient, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-dense part of the solution then injecting this back into the scalp.

But what many users don’t realise is that these scalp injections are clinically unproven for this purpose and many others it is promoted for, including the anti-ageing vampire facial.

Now, medical regulatory board, Health Canada – the Canadian equivalent of the MHRA in the UK – is cracking down on PRP clinics and practitioners, stating the “safety, efficacy and quality” of these treatments cannot currently be guaranteed.

Investigational, unproven therapy

In a 2019 report on autologous cell therapy products, Health Canada sets out its position with regards stem cell treatments and PRP for various uses, including hair loss, and warns the public that “most of these products are currently at the investigational stage of development with an on-going need to gather supporting scientific evidence.”

PRP Therapy for Hair Loss

Furthermore, the use of these scalp injections for ‘cosmetic’ purposes, such as treating thinning hair, is not currently properly regulated – a key concern when it comes to ensuring patient safety and that effective procedures are properly carried out. Health Canada has particular concerns regarding cross-contamination, equipment being properly sterilized and the potential for immune reactions.

As such, new measures have been outlined to protect patients from “unsafe and deceptive practices“, including the promotion of PRP for unproven uses – promoting hair growth, for example.

Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail reports it is likely that those found to be non-compliant with new regulations for PRP will face fines, but quite how, and how strictly, the new rules being put in place will be policed remains to be seen.

Health Canada notes this issue has arisen because existing drug rules and regulations do not cover stem cell or PRP therapies, which is also the case in the USA, which is overseen by the FDA.

Although the EU has created specific rules to cover stem cell-based treatments, the MHRA’s position is unclear. It does, however, require any ‘blood establishments’ – businesses that collect, store or process blood – do require a BEA, blood establishment authorisation, in order to operate in the UK. Businesses must submit to MHRA inspections at least once every two years, having systems in place for reporting side effects or adverse events, and have the relevant blood establishment licence.

It will be interesting to see whether the MHRA follows Health Canada’s lead and also implements a crackdown on unlicensed practitioners, as well as those who promote PRP treatments for unproven purposes.

The Globe and Mail quotes Michael Rudnicki, scientific director of the Stem Cell Network, which provides funding and support to stem cell researchers, who feels the Canadian action is ‘long overdue’, saying:

“It’s a step in the right direction, but they really need to step up their enforcement. The public really has been misinformed by these clinics and by this advertising.”

It also spoke to the Canada Research Chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta, Tim Caulfield, who added, “We know that there are an increasing number of clinics across North America that are selling these unproven therapies. I think it’s really important to emphasize this stuff is unproven.”

Alternatives to PRP hair loss treatment

There have been, and continue to be, numerous clinical trials investigating PRP for hair loss, most commonly for Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, though also for patchy hairloss caused by the autoimmune disorder, Alopecia Areata.

These have provided mixed results, some of which look promising such as the Alopecia Areata research, though often these trials are small in size and fairly short, therefore, larger-scale, longer-term studies are needed to fully ensure the therapy’s safety, efficacy and tolerability for any or all of these hair loss conditions.

In some cases PRP has been trialled as an adjunctive therapy, where it is used in addition to existing MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved hair loss treatments for Male and Female Pattern Baldness.

These treatments – finasteride 1mg (men only) and high strength minoxidil (unisex) – can obviously be used on their own, men may also use both, and PRP is an unnecessary addition, though some people may want to try it to help maximise their potential results.

An alternative to PRP for hair growth is low-level laser therapy (LLLT). This is where home-use devices, such as the FDA-cleared HairMax LaserBand, use medical grade lasers to send red light to the scalp to stimulate hair growth and stronger hair.

This established technique self-administered via a headband-style gadget is used for a few minutes up to three times per week, is in no way invasive, plus requires no blood to be taken.

Although this can be employed as a lone method, Belgravia specialists have found the best results for preventing baldness come when this is used in conjunction with the authorised oral and/or topical medications.

Anyone confused about which is the best hair loss solution for them out of the many options available should contact a specialist for a consultation and personalised advice following a professional diagnosis.

Please note: Belgravia does not offer PRP as it is currently unproven as a hair loss treatment


Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic Hair Loss Specialist Free ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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Just as disappointing results were released by Aclaris Therapeutics for its lead Alopecia Areata treatment, Pfizer announced details of an up-coming Phase 3 clinical trial for its investigational drug known as PF-06651600.

This JAK inhibitor treatment will be studied on patients with all forms of the autoimmune disorder – Alopecia Areata (patchy hair loss of the scalp only), Alopecia Totalis (total baldness of the scalp and head, including facial hair, eyelashes and eyebrows) and Alopecia Universalis (losing all hair from head to toe).

Researchers will be assessing both the participants’ health and hair count, using various methodology, at the beginning and end of the trial, with monitoring throughout.

Diagram Belgravia Centre Different Types of Alopecia Areata autoimmune hair loss
Areas affected by hair loss shown in blue

Patients aged 12 and over

The oral drug has been in development for the past few years and its progression to this latest stage of the clinical trial process has been eagerly awaited, not least because of the potential it may provide a hair loss solution for both adults and adolescents with Alopecia Areata of all kinds.

What is particularly encouraging about this study, which is due to commence on 22nd July 2019, is that the test subjects taking part are aged from 12 years old. It is also fairly substantial in size, with a total of 860 people being recruited to take part.

At present, whilst there are some hospital-based therapies that can be used for children with any phenotype, and adults with the more extensive iterations; examples include steroid scalp injections and immunotherapy.

At-home scalp-only Alopecia Areata Treatment tends to only be offered to those aged 16 years and over. This involves daily applications of a topical solution called high strength minoxidil which is clinically-proven to treat both Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss but, although not officially authorised for this purpose, has shown off-label potential for promoting hair growth in the case of other hair loss conditions, including scalp-only Alopecia Areata.

FDA helping to expedite trial reviews

The Pfizer drug development and its clinical trials have been closely monitored and reviews of their data expedited by the American medical regulatory body, the FDA (the equivalent of the UK’s MHRA).

This is due to Pfizer having received a Breakthrough Status designation in September 2018, essentially awarding a close relationships with the FDA and reviews of its findings to be fast-tracked.

The reason the FDA has become so closely involved in, not just this potential severe Alopecia Areata treatment, but others which have also been granted fast-track status, is due to the current unmet needs in this area.

Mental health issues have been repeatedly linked with the presence Alopecia Areata in all its forms, and as there is a real lack of safe and effective treatment options for patients with these autoimmune disorders – notably those with Alopecia Totalis, Universalis or those under 16 years of age with the milder form causing hair loss of the scalp.

As such, whilst counselling is often suggested to people with Alopecia Areata to help them learn how to cope with their condition, the FDA has sensibly taken the view that the sooner a safe, effective and tolerable – not to mention affordable – solution can be developed and authorised by the relevant medical regulators then made available to sufferers, the better.

This latest stage of the PF-06651600 trial is due to take a number of years, with findings due for release on 1st May 2023.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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Researchers at Assiut University in Egypt are moving forward with new trials involving the use of fractional laser therapy as a potential treatment for the hair loss-causing autoimmune disorder, Alopecia Areata.

Details revealed in the trial registration, posted on 1st July 2019 – a day before the study commenced – state the team will explore the use of fractional carbon dioxide lasers both alone and in addition to other therapies.

Fractional CO2 lasers are similar to Fraxel lasers – which have also been trialled in relation to hair loss treatment – but fractional CO2 lasers ablate the skin’s surface, meaning less sessions may be needed, which Fraxel lasers – often used for cosmetic skin resurfacing – do not.

Excimer Laser Trial for Alopecia Areata Following Positive Results in Skin Conditions Such as Psoriasis

Aiding drug delivery for Alopecia Areata treatments

The small scale, randomised trial comprises 40 participants split into 4 equal groups of 10. Each of these groups are being administered a different arm of treatment for a total duration of three months.

After this time their hair regrowth will be measured in terms of hair density and follicles per cm2, compared to baseline.

All groups will receive fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment but, whilst one group will receive only this, another will receive additional triamcinolone acetonide, a further group will also undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) and another will be given additional vitamin D solutions.

The group receiving fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment only will be given six sessions in total.

The group receiving fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment plus triamcinolone acetonide will receive six sessions of the fractional CO2 laser therapy, with topical triamcinolone acetonide being applied to the scalp straight after.

The group receiving fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment plus platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) will also undergo six laser sessions, with topical autologous PRP being applied directly after each.

The group receiving fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment plus vitamin D solution will have this solution applied to their scalps straight after each of their six laser sessions.

Results expected by Summer 2022

The study, which goes under the official title of ‘Efficacy of Fractional CO2 Laser Alone and as Transepidermal Drug Delivery for Different Modalities of Treatment in Alopecia Areata‘, is due to complete its primary stage by 1st July 2021, with final completion currently marked for 1st July 2022.

This area of investigation is also being explored in relation to treating Male Pattern Baldness, with a team from the University of Minnesota in the USA testing whether CO2 fractional laser therapy may improve the efficacy of high strength minoxidil.

This is a topical hair loss solution used to promote hair growth in cases of androgenetic alopecia and which is both MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for this purpose. Although these authorisations do not extend to its use in treating Alopecia Areata of the scalp only, its successful applications for this purpose have been noted.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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When it comes to developing potential JAK inhibitor hair loss treatments for Alopecia Areata, Aclaris Therapeutics Inc. has been one of the key players.

The company’s status in this field has largely come about thanks to various exclusive JAK inhibitor licenses and patents granted through partnerships with the Trustees of Columbia University.

Researchers at the university’s prestigious medical school were among the first to discover the potential of Janus kinase inhibitors to treat autoimmune hair loss, from scalp-only Alopecia Areata to the most extensive phenotype, Alopecia Universalis which causes complete baldness from head-to-toe.

It is currently investigating a novel, topical hair loss solution known as ATI-502 for this purpose, which was granted FDA Fast Track designation.

cream lotion solution

While the regular clinical trial results the company has shared so far have generally seemed promising, the Aclaris share price dropped sharply on Thursday 27th June 2019 after the latest update from its mid-stage trial was less than stellar.

According to a report on the 24/7 Wall Street website, the future of the study may now be in jeopardy, despite the company’s stated dedication to exploring JAK inhibition to find a viable, safe and effective way to treat autoimmune hair loss.

Results from Phase 2 trial “disappointing”

It was announced that the Phase 2 clinical trial of ATI-502 did not achieve statistical superiority in its hair growth at week 24 remit; additionally, high rates of disease resolution were noted following treatment in those using ATI-502.

Both investigator relating to hair counts and hair density measurements, and patient-reported data as to satisfaction, failed to produce statistically significant results, although the drug – which is applied directly to the skin – was generally found to be tolerable.

“We are surprised and extremely disappointed by the results of this Phase 2 trial. This is disappointing not only for the company, but also for patients who are living with alopecia areata,” said Aclaris president and CEO, Dr. Neal Walker. “We sincerely thank the patients and investigators who participated in this trial. We look forward to advancing our other development programs.”

Although this sign off does not sound positive, it is not a decisive confirmation of the trial’s cancellation and we will report on updates as to the trial’s status as we receive them. In the meantime, other pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Concert, continue to develop different JAK inhibitors as future Alopecia Areata, Totalis and Universalis treatments.

JAK inhibitor treatments may be too expensive

This news comes at a time when speculation has become rife online as to whether JAK inhibitor-based Alopecia Areata treatments may be prohibitively expensive for many potential patients.

Concerns voiced in online forums – and respected medical journal The Lancet – refer not only to how expensive JAK inhibitor treatments are likely to be should they get the necessary medical board licenses and clearances to become available for prescription, but also to whether they would even be offered on the NHS in the UK, or be covered by medical insurance.

Given many, somewhat controversially, consider hair loss – even in the case of autoimmune disorders such as Alopecia Areata – to be a ‘cosmetic’ problem, there is some doubt over whether medical insurance companies would cover its use.

As the negative associations between Alopecia Areata and mental health become increasingly apparent, this is hopefully an issue that can be resolved in time for the potential release of any new Alopecia Areata treatments, which could be as early as 2021.

For now, those with the scalp-only phenotype presenting as sudden hair loss and bald spots or rounded bald patches have the option of using topical Alopecia Areata treatment, whilst – although with a lower success rate – steroid injections and immunotherapy are sometimes offered to patients with Alopecia Totalis or Universalis to help promote hair regrowth.

Children with any iteration or over 16s with Alopecia Totalis or Universalis should consult their GP as the first port of call, whilst those whose hair loss is confined to just the scalp may seek the advice of a hair loss specialist for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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In what is being hailed by the press as a potentially revolutionary hair growth discovery, scientists in America have shown how ‘natural-looking hair’ can be grown from stem cells.

Research into how regenerative medicine could be used to address hair loss has been on-going for quite some time, with a team from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California having made this latest breakthrough.

A company named Stemson Therapeutics has exclusively licensed their technology which received a Merit Award following its presentation at the 2019 annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Stem cell therapy induces hair growth

In January 2015 Stanford Burnham researchers successfully induced hair growth in mice; this was done by the use of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) derived from human embryos or foetal tissue. These are capable of transforming into any other type of cell in the body, including dermal papilla.

Dermal papilla cells are found inside hair follicles and regulate not just hair growth but also aspects such as how thick the hair is.

The latest trial involved refining the protocol used in this initial research. Continues below…

Stem Cell Therapy Could Grow Unlimited Hair Follicles to Treat Hair Loss - Stanford Burnham
Click to enlarge image

As Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D. – associate professor in Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Development, Ageing and Regeneration Program and co-founder of Stemson Therapeutics – advises, “Our new protocol described today overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use. Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells.

The process tested in mouse trials involves the use of ‘scaffolding’, made from the same material as dissolvable stitches, to ensure the stem cells take properly and the resulting hair growth is in the correct direction.

Although stem cells from mice are used alongside human dermal papilla cells in the procedure at present, Terskikh and his team are working to develop epithelial cells from human iPSCs, in order to then be able to generate entirely human hair follicles.

Patients undergoing the procedure would then, essentially simply have their blood taken, this innovative technology would then be used to grow an “unlimited supply” of hair follicles from the stem cells found in their blood, and these fully functional follicles would be inserted into the scalp via a hair transplant operation.

No need for donor hair

One of the key benefits some of the newer hair loss solutions being developed – including this one – offer is that they do not require donor hair to be effective.

With certain hairloss conditions – including some forms of Scarring Alopecia and extensive baldness on top caused by advanced Male Pattern Hair Loss – the follicles are rendered defunct and surgical intervention may be the only remaining option. However, a lack of sufficient good quality donor hair may be an issue, meaning a hair transplant is not possible for the entire area and/or may not produce the desired results.

This can also be problematic in men who have had a number of hair restoration operations, especially if they have not been done by a highly-skilled surgeon, as they may also run out of donor hair.

Techniques which mean you no longer need to have donor hair available in order to have your own hair transplanted into the bald or balding areas can be particularly worthwhile in these instances.

It potentially provides options to people with bald areas who currently have no viable treatments open to them as, although conditions such as Male Pattern Hair Loss can often be successfully treated through use of a personalised hair loss treatment course, this can only work where there are functioning hair follicles available, which is not the situation in cases of actual baldness.

The Sanford-Burnham research is still on-going, as are a number of other hair regeneration programmes, so it is likely to be a few years yet until this technique becomes widely available, but all updates will be posted here on the Belgravia hair loss blog as they happen.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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It’s fair to say that Happy Mondays singer and former hell-raiser, Shaun Ryder has put his body through a lot.

The chart-topping Mancunian’s hard-partying ways in the 1990s and early 2000s, including crack and heroin addiction, were documented in the film 24 Hour Party People.

Despite the known effects of this type of lifestyle on hair loss, his closely-cropped crew cut remained largely intact, with the exception of a bit of thinning on top, most likely due to Male Pattern Baldness, during this time.

However, after recent health problems and surgery, the now 56 year old is having his melon well and truly twisted after going completely bald, from head to toe.

Hip operation and thyroid problems

Shaun Ryder Hair Loss Alopecia

According to an article in the New Statesman, Shaun Ryder has been experiencing “extreme hair loss” due to thyroid problems. In the April 2019 interview he advised he has lost all his hair from his scalp, face and entire body.

Although he blames this on thyroid problems, which started before the recent hip operation he had soon after this interview and has left him still on crutches, hair loss from illnesses, surgery or medication does not generally affect the body.

Shock or trauma to the body, such as an underlying illness or emotional upset, can trigger two separate types of hair loss; one is Telogen Effluvium which causes diffusely thinning hair all over the scalp and can develop in cases of thyroid conditions, the other is Alopecia Areata.

Generally Telogen Effluvium takes around three months to present as intense shedding and up to six months to resolve itself naturally, whereas Alopecia Areata can be more immediate in its onset. Its duration also depends on the particular strain that develops.

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder which disrupts the hair growth cycle resulting in sudden hair loss; this can be anything from rounded bald spots on the scalp only, to becoming completely hairless – as is the case with the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here runner-up.

When it is this extensive, it is known as Alopecia Universalis – the most severe alopecia phenotype.

Treated with scalp injections

Shaun Ryder Black Grape NME
Shaun Ryder on the cover of the NME in 1995

Whilst Alopecia Areata treatment is often effective for the milder, scalp-only patchy hair loss version, there are currently no reliable hair regrowth treatments for Universalis.

He mentioned having alopecia treatment via scalp injections in his New Statesman interview, which is likely to be steroid injections.

“I reckon all my hair will start ­coming back in the next three months or so when we get the treatment levels sorted,” Ryder told The Sunday People, joking, “Hobbling about on me crutches with ­alopecia – it’s not a great rock ’n’ roll image is it?”

If the hair loss Shaun Ryder has been experiencing is Alopecia Universalis, he is unlikely to regrow hair within the next three months.

Belgravia senior hair loss specialist, Leonora Doclis, advises: “His symptoms, and indeed his photos, clearly indicate Alopecia Universalis. This is an autoimmune condition as much as a thyroid problem.

Alopecia Universalis hairloss is so extensive and advanced that regrowth is unlikely, or, should it resume naturally, it can take a long time – certainly longer than a few months. That said, there have been a few cases of this condition rectifying itself within a few months, however, it is uncommon.

Steroid injections may stimulate regrowth within a short period of time but, the regrowth does not seem to last and frequent steroid injections are generally not recommended due to high risk of side effects”.

Should Shaun Ryder turn out to have Alopecia Universalis and find that his hair does not grow back, he will no doubt be pleased to hear about the number of potential treatments currently in development. Most are from a suite of drugs known as JAK inhibitors and the first – whichever they may be – are thought to be heading towards a release in the next three years, MHRA-licensing and FDA-approvals pending.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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The annual Alopecia UK Big Weekend convention will be held 27th to 29th September 2019, in Bristol.

This popular event, held during Alopecia Awareness month, is an informative, inclusive and fun weekend for those affected – either directly or indirectly – by hair loss from various forms of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

Adults, teens and children are all welcome, with special programmes including workshops, exhibitor demonstrations, games and talks tailored to each of these attendee groups.

Alopecia UK Big Weekend 2019 Bristol - annual hair loss charity event

Meet others who ‘just get it’

To announce this year’s event Alopecia UK listed nine reasons why those with, or supporting someone with, Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis may wish to attend, on their social media channels.

These were, in reverse order…

9. Find out about products and services that can help

8. Learn new skills

7. Make new friends

6. Socialise and have fun!

5. Feel comfortable to do something different

4. Build your confidence

3. Listen to talks from experts in alopecia

2. Meet others who ‘just get it’

1. End the weekend feeling uplifted and inspired!

Importance of peer support

Whilst the educational elements and practical advice are undoubtedly helpful for people with alopecia, simply being in safe space with others who are all going through the same issues can be a huge comfort.

The ability to ditch the wig or headscarf and go ‘au naturel’ for a weekend is something many people may not feel able to do in their everyday lives. These types of gatherings can, therefore, be an invaluable release and great source of peer support.

Research has shown that people with Alopecia Areata are more prone to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, so opportunities for these types of group gatherings, as well as professional advice on coping strategies – particularly for the forms where treatment is not yet possible (currently Alopecia Areata treatment is only generally successful for the basic scalp-only phenotype) – can be extremely uplifting.

The last day of the weekend sees attendees who wish to take part flood the banks of the River Avon with a ‘sea of AUK blue tops’ – blue being the main official colour of Alopecia UK – to help raise alopecia awareness – as well as for some picturesque photo opportunities!

Tickets to the event, which will be held at the Bristol Marriott Hotel in Bristol city centre, can be purchased via the Alopecia UK website where all necessary information and a brochure of the weekend’s events is also available.


Circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinics LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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